Eye Candy for Today: Adriaen Ysenbrandt’s The Magdalen in a Landscape

The Magdalen in a Landscape Adriaen Ysenbrandt
The Magdalen in a Landscape, Adriaen Ysenbrandt

In the National Gallery, London. Also on Google Art Project, downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons.

Painted in the early 16th century, this delicately rendered devotional piece features a truly strange landscape, including a scene within a scene in which Mary is shown reading in a rather bizarre little cave. There are beautiful touches in the detailed rendering of the book, jar and and flowers.

In contrast to the other background elements, the large tree is naturalistic in a way similar to the styles of later centuries.


3 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Adriaen Ysenbrandt’s The Magdalen in a Landscape

  1. This is something I find particularly interesting. I’ve seen it in many paintings from the late Middle Ages to the early Renaissance. It appears to have been a common convention, up until a certain point during the Renaissance, that these distant backgrounds were a bit too blue, and too sharp in detail. I get the impression that they had figured out that things get more blue in the distance, but not the effects of atmospheric perspective on removing detail.

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